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A Liberal Theory of International Justice$
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Andrew Altman and Christopher Heath Wellman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199564415

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199564415.001.0001

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International Distributive Justice 1

International Distributive Justice 1

Chapter:
(p.123) 6 International Distributive Justice1
Source:
A Liberal Theory of International Justice
Author(s):

Andrew Altman (Contributor Webpage)

Christopher Heath Wellman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199564415.003.0006

An increasing number of theorists are coming to espouse what might be called “egalitarian cosmopolitanism,” the view that it is unjust for a person's life prospects to be substantially affected by the country into which he or she happens to be born. This chapter argues against such a position. A reasonable egalitarian principle of distributive justice would not require the elimination of the effects of brute luck on the lives of individuals. Rather, it would demand the elimination of conditions, whatever their origin, that make the less advantaged vulnerable to exploitation and oppression at the hands of the more advantaged. It is perfectly possible, even in today's increasingly globalized world, for different states to have very different levels of average wealth, without the less wealthy being vulnerable to oppression by the more wealthy. Despite resisting egalitarian cosmopolitanism, however, this chapter does not defend anything like the status quo. Among the many things seriously objectionable about the global economic system is the fact that the citizens of wealthy states fail to meet their minimal samaritan duties to assist the hundreds of millions of people who live and die in absolute poverty.

Keywords:   distributive justice, poverty, human rights, egalitarianism

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